IS-linked group ousted from Somalia town, officials claim


Mogadishu / AFP

The government of Somalia’s northern Puntland region said on Wednesday it had retaken control of a small port town from extremists who have declared allegiance to the IS group.
“Puntland forces have secured control of Qandala and the armed militants have fled, now the
situation is quite calm and everything is under control,” said
Yusuf Mohamed Waceys, a regional
The militants—led by former Shabaab cleric Abdiqadir Mumin—switched allegiance from Al Qaeda to IS last year but have so far failed to gather much support.
The late October takeover of Qandala was the group’s first significant move—apart from issuing occasional promotional videos—and the militants have remained in the vicinity of the town since then, withdrawing whenever they feared an assault by Puntland’s security forces. Waceys said the militants retreated after heavy fighting. His claim that dozens of the extremists had been killed could not immediately be verified.
Residents of nearby villages confirmed the clashes.
“Hundreds of Puntland forces armed with heavy weaponry have attacked Qandala and we are hearing they have managed to take control of the location,” said Osman Mohamed Nuh, a local resident.
In late August the US State Department named Mumin a “global terrorist”.

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